Debating Human Rights in China: A Conceptual and Political History

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Mai 2002



Tracing the concept of human rights in Chinese political discourse since the late Qing dynasty, this comprehensive history convincingly demonstrates that_contrary to conventional wisdom_there has been a vibrant debate on human rights throughout the twentieth century. Drawing on little-known sources, Marina Svensson shows how these largely forgotten debates provide important perspectives on and contrasts to the official PRC line. By exploring the relationship between domestic and international human rights discourses, this study offers new insights not only into the Chinese but the Western human rights debate as well. Students and scholars of China and of human rights will find this work an important tool for understanding one of the great issues of our time.


Chapter 1 Debating Human Rights in China: Introductory Perspectives Chapter 2 The Conception of Human Rights in the West: Historical Origin and Contemporary Controversies Chapter 3 Culture and Human Rights: Between Universalism and Relativism Chapter 4 China and the Introduction of Western Thought Chapter 5 Ideas of Human Rights in the Early Twentieth Century: The Quest for National Salvation Chapter 6 The New Culture Movement and Beyond: Human Rights and the Liberation of the Individual Chapter 7 The Nanking Decade, 1927-1937: Liberal and Radical Voices on Human Rights Chapter 8 Human Rights Debate in Wartime China: Between Individual Freedom and National Salvation Chapter 9 The 1950s: Human Rights Debates on Two Sides of the Taiwan Strait Chapter 10 The Domestic Challenge Over Human Rights: The Democracy Wall Activists and the Official Reaction, 1978-1982 Chapter 11 A Contested and Evolving Discourse: Human Rights Debates since the Late 1980s Chapter 12 The Chinese Human Rights Debate: Conclusion and Prospects Chapter 13 Glossary


Marina Svensson is assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Languages, Lund University. She is the coeditor of The Chinese Human Rights Reader.


This study demonstrates the diversity of perspectives on the existence and scope of human rights in China from the end of the Qing dynasty to the present...Highly recommended . CHOICE Well-written. Svensson is thoroughly steeped in the Chinese-language literature on the subject and has found an astonishing amount of material. The book is so comprehensive that it will doubtless stand as the definitive work until conditions in China change. The China Journal [Provides] engaging and provocative materials for anyone interested in human rights and in social, political, and cultural transformations in China...[A] rich and contested discourse woven together sensibly and intelligently...[A] friendly textbook for instructors and students of Chinese political culture. China Quarterly Marina Svensson has written a sophisticated, nuanced, complex history of human rights discource in China in the twentieth century. As she has argued and proven with her in-depth research, human rights discourse is not alien to China. Journal of Asian Studies The book is rich in details, comprehensive in scope and careful in its exposition. It also has a superb bibliography of the writings of Chinese intellectuals since the early twentieth century. The book is a very good guide for anyone who wants to understand Chinese rights thinking in the past century. Political Studies Review Marina Svensson takes a topic about which much has been written and turns it inside out in fascinating and unexpected ways through careful readings of a range of important yet often overlooked Chinese documents. The end result is a sophisticated study that illuminates the complex process by which visions of freedom and cultural traditions can clash, intersect, and reshape one another. -- Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Indiana University Svensson is the ideal person to write this history. Although she is an excellent scholar, she is more than that. As she puts it, 'In my case, human rights activism came first and academic work only later' (p. xii). As a result, her book is imbued with passion, while at the same time characterized by a meticulous regard for the evidence. Pacific Affairs Marina Svensson has crafted an analytical history tracing the political and conceptual journey of the idea of human rights. China Rights Forum
EAN: 9780742516977
ISBN: 0742516970
Untertitel: New. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Mai 2002
Seitenanzahl: 400 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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